Bairstow, Pope lead England fightback

London, Sep 03 (PTI): Umesh Yadav struck twice in the first hour of play before a counter-attacking stand between Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope took England to 139 for five at lunch on day two of the fourth Test here on Friday.
At the break, Bairstow and Pope were going strong on 34 and 38 respectively after England resumed the day at 53 for three. The hosts still trail by 52 runs after bowling out India for 191 on day one. England scored 86 runs in the 25-over session with Bairstow and Pope sharing an unbeaten 77-run stand off 109 balls.
Umesh, perennially in and out of the playing eleven and featuring in his first Test in nine months, was impressive in his opening spell after taking the prized wicket of Joe Root on Thursday.
He got his 150th Test wicket in his first over of the day after nightwatchman Craig Overton slashed one hard only to edge it to Virat Kohli at first slip. Dawid Malan (31 off 67) once again batted fluently until Umesh, coming from around the wicket, got one to slightly straighten to take the outside edge and Rohit Sharma took a brilliant diving catch at second slip, leaving England at 62 for five. With Jasprit Bumrah also applying pressure from the other end, England managed to score only 25 runs in the first hour in which 12 overs were bowled.
However, the momentum shifted drastically in England’s favour after the drinks break as Shardul Thakur conceded four boundaries in his over with three of them coming from Pope’s bat.
One was a delightful straight drive and was followed by a flick between the mid-on and mid-wicket arc. With the pitch not offering much help to the pacers, Thakur paid the price for bowling a bit too full. The next over, Bairstow collected three boundaries off Mohammad Siraj, who too wasn’t at his best.
When Umesh came back for his second spell, Bairstow dispatched him for three fours including a crisp straight drive.
Pope, playing his first game of the series, too batted with supreme confidence and struck a gorgeous cover drive off Bumrah towards the end of the session.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was guilty of bowling two no-balls in his three overs before lunch.

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